Stopping Anti-Social Behaviour
Anti-social behaviour can be anything from serious acts of violence and harassment, to more everyday incidents like noisy dogs. Whatever the problem we will take it seriously. We will act quickly to stop anti-social behaviour.
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group can take action not only when a neighbouring tenant is acting anti-socially but if their children or their visitors are causing a problem. We can also take action against troublemakers even if they have no connection with a tenant, as long as the anti-social behaviour takes place in an area of Wythenshawe Community Housing Group.
Reporting Anti-Social Behaviour
The simplest way to tell us about anti-social behaviour is to call into your nearest housing office, phone us on 0161 946 9501 or contact us using the online form.
If the problem is an obvious one, we may be able to sort it out easily. Most cases are not quite so simple. If the nuisance caused is not obvious to everyone or if it’s aimed directly at you, we need to talk to you before we can start the investigation.
Our Service Standards we will;
- Investigate all reported cases of ASB within our agreed timescales
- Acknowledge all complaints within one working day.
- Advise you of the steps we can take and what you can expect to happen next
- Meet with anyone subjected to ASB within five working days or in cases of serious harassment or nuisance within 24 hours
- Treat all information in confidence unless you agree otherwise
- Draw up with you an action plan which describes what measures will be put place to get the problem sorted
- Carry out emergency repairs within 24 hours
- Agree with you how often we update you. This will be at least every two weeks and at key stages of the process
- Provide appropriate witness support and out of hours service for emergency incidents
- Use a variety of different methods to tackle ASB, including legal action and preventative measures depending on what is required
We will treat what you tell us in confidence. We’ll try and help you stay anonymous but people can sometimes guess who is complaining about them. In most cases we will need to talk to the person you are complaining about. You can ask us not to do this but we may not be able to take your case any further. If you are worried about something bad happening if you make a complaint, please tell us.
Dealing with complaints
There are five simple steps to dealing with complaints of anti-social behaviour:
- Telling us about it
- Drawing up an action plan
- Talking it through
- Gathering evidence
- Taking action
Tell us about it
In most cases we need to meet you to talk about the problem. We can do this wherever it suits you – at your home, in the housing office or somewhere else. In serious cases we’ll aim to meet you within 24 hours.
We’ll ask you questions to help us get a picture of the problem. We will need to know who is affected, how they’re affected, where it happens, when it happens and why you think the person is acting anti-socially. We will want to speak to other people in your household who may have been affected too.
Drawing up an action plan
At the end of a meeting we’ll draw up a plan that describes what you should do and what we will do to get the problem sorted. It’s called the action plan. We will ask you to sign a copy of the action plan to confirm you are happy with it’s content and provide you with a copy.
Talking it through
If the case does not involve threats, violence or harassment the plan could start with a suggestion that you talk the problem through with the other person. There is always a better chance of solving a dispute if you try to see each other’s point of view. Sometimes a neighbour just needs reminding that their behaviour is upsetting you.
As a good neighbour you should be reasonably understanding of the different lifestyles of others. For example you do not have to put up with regular noisy parties, but try to tolerate a one-off event especially if they tell you beforehand.
If when you talk to the other person he or she is unreasonable, just walk away. Do not get involved in an argument.
If you feel uneasy about approaching a neighbour on your own we can set up a meeting for you. We can be there to help you talk through the problem together. There is also a specialist mediation service that you can use to resolve your dispute.
Manchester Mediation has expert advisers who can help find a solution you are both happy with. Please ask a Housing Officer about the service.
We cannot take action against someone simply because another person has complained about them – we need evidence. The most important evidence is an Incident Diary. This is a special booklet that we will give you to record incidents that you see or hear.
We may need to collect other evidence, like photographs, video or tape recordings of the incidents happening. We may be able to do these ourselves but if the incident happens suddenly it may be best if you do it too.
We may have to speak to other people who have witnessed the problem – your neighbours for example. It could be difficult to take the case any further without these other witnesses. Your neighbours could fill their own incident diaries as supporting evidence.
The action plan may also recommend involving other agencies like the Police or Social Services.
When we have collected evidence we will decide whether the person causing the nuisance has a case to answer. If so we will take action. In very serious cases where you are put in danger, we will take legal action straight away. In other situations we will take a step-by-step approach to try to get the persons involved to change their behaviour.
We will need to interview the person carrying out the anti-social behaviour. You can ask us not to do this but it may then be difficult to take the case further. We will tell the person to change their behaviour or risk legal action. This warning is usually enough to solve the vast majority of cases.
If anti-social behaviour continues after a warning or if someone is in danger – we will start legal action straight away. Types of legal action may include:
- An injunction – a legal order that instructs the perpetrator to stop acting in an anti-social manner
- Permission to evict the tenant – the tenant is responsible for his or her own behaviour and for the behaviour of anyone living with them or visiting their home
Complaints and Appeals
Where one party makes a complaint that they do not think they have been treated fairly or are unhappy with the outcome of their ASB complaint, an independent review of the management of the case will be carried out by the Housing Manger (ASB) or Senior Housing Manger, you can also ask for the case to be reviewed independently under the community trigger.